Breakfast with Brit: Let’s “Beef” Up Your Learning!

May is National Beef Month!

“Beef is the soul of cooking.”

Marie-Antoine Carame

The soul of cooking, indeed. In the handful of breakfast meals that I have prepared so far, ~75% have been with beef, for good reason, too. Beef definitely marks high on the list when it comes to staple ingredients into our traditional New Mexican dishes, including green chile, of course. The presence of beef in our state’s cooking “repertoire of recipes” dates back to before we even a state. In 1540, when cattle were first introduced to New Mexico by the explorer Coronado, they were used as a commissary herd, meaning they were utilized as food for the soldiers on the expedition. In later years a more permanent set of herds were established in the form of estancias, which were large ranching operations in the southwestern U.S. and South America. From there, beef was an essential part of meals because it “packed a punch” for our daily recommended value of protein and essential nutrients within each serving size.

Ranching, like the marbling effect inside cuts of beef and other meats, is engrained into the local economy, throughout rural NM. Check out this video put out by the New Mexico Cattlegrower’s Association, and hear first-hand from a multi-generation family of ranchers in northeastern New Mexico, the Clavel’s, as they share with us how their ranch has served as an economic and community support over the years for the little town of Roy.

New Mexico Ag in the Classroom is dedicated to helping families continue to learn during this time. Through our Facebook Live video series, “Breakfast with Brit”, the mission is to:

  • Provide current factual information
  • Connect you with experts in their field
  • Show where you can access FREE educational online resources 
  • Provide tasty and easy recipes while we are all home cooking more often
  • Show how easy it is to ask us questions and see that there is always something great to learn in agriculture

This week’s recipe is a special one because it’s one from my grandma Lolo (Lois Lardner). It’s extra special because she is now an angel. When I was growing up, she provided me with a deep love for cooking & baking. She also instilled an appreciation for growing things in the garden, like tomatoes (even if they weren’t one of my top food choices at the time). One of the best lessons I learned from that sweet woman was the importance of family and making sure to gather around the table and share your day with loved ones for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and sometimes all 3 if the schedule allowed it.

Lolo’s famous Smothered Green Chile & Beef Burritos were always a hit in the Lardner household – anything she cooked was, really. She should have had her own show titled “Cooking for the Herd,” not that we were a ranching family or anything, but she had her own herd of six kids which made larger recipes necessary. Her measurements were always by the bucket, not a teaspoon.

“Beef Up Your Learning” – FB Live Video:

Not only is beef an important part of the American diet, but it also plays a significant role in our economy.

NMAITC lesson, Beef Basics (see Background Agricultural Connections section)

The quote above serves as a connection to the current status for a reliable source of nutrients our bodies need, but also for our local community’s economic reliance on the beef industry. Although it’s not something I brought up in the video, I feel it’s a topic that is a world-wide conversation that is important to acknowledge. Currently, our economy and agriculture industry is facing many challenges, changes, and setbacks that are out of all of our hands. The mental toll it takes on us can quickly become overwhelming. It’s important that during these times we evaluate our mental well-being and “stick together” to find things in which to be thankful. Here is an inspirational blog from the BEEF Magazine that recognizes 25 Things To Be Grateful For. We hope that everyone is taking time throughout your day to focus on your health and well-being.

Links, Lessons & Recipes:

Let’s get right to it! Here is a list of engaging informational links and lessons to help keep further your knowledge for the beef you eat or byproducts you use that we showcased on the FB Live session.

    • Where Did Your Hamburger Come From? (Grades K-2) In this lesson students will learn about the variety of agricultural products they consume in a hamburger and will trace the ingredients back to their source.
    • Beef Basics (Grades 3-5) Students will explain the importance of the beef cattle industry, including the products cattle produce, the production process from farm to plate, and how cattle can utilize and obtain energy from grass and other forage.
    • The Remarkable Ruminant (Grades 6-8) In this lesson, students will follow the farm to fork process of producing beef, learn how cattle and other ruminants convert grass into nutrient-rich foods such as milk and meat, discover ways cattle recycle food waste, and identify careers in the beef cattle industry.
    • A Tale of Two Burgers: Beef and Plant-Based Protein (Grades 9-12) Students will compare the components of beef and plant-based burgers by determining the production and processing methods of each product; evaluate the ingredients and nutritional differences between beef and plant-based products; and discuss different points of view in the agricultural industry concerning plant-based proteins and traditional beef.

See you on the next episode of Breakfast with Brit.

Britney LardnerNMAITC Program Coordinator

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